EARLIEST GRAVESTONE IN MONTSERRAT IS THAT OF AN IRISHMAN
Known as the ‘Rocklands Tombstone’, this memorial to purported Irishman John Davies (?-1686) is touted as the oldest on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. However, research has shown that the current memorial was, in fact, reproduced during the 20th century, which accounts for its excellent condition and modern script. This was made possible by the original Latin text having been recorded in the Gentleman’s Magazine in the late 18th century, and subsequently included in Vere Langford Oliver’s More Monumental Inscriptions: Tombstones of the British West Indies (1927). Oliver noted that the tombstone in question was no longer extant at the time of publication. This lone memorial is situated on a cliff above Bunkum Bay, below the village of St. Peter’s in the northern part of the island. This lone monument is allegedly located “in what was once a private burial ground, below the Anglican St. Peter’s Church”.
Sub hoc tumulo jacet
vir integritate, industriâ, et benevolentiâ suis
quam alienis charissimus
Patriae pro viribus minister,
Nam in hâc insulâ Monserat pro multis annis
Non tantum civilian sed etiam militaria
quaedum errant illi officia :
praesertim fuit justiciarius pacis
qui post longum dolorem corpis tandem
quiete et lebentur mortem obiit,
mense Septembris anno renovati hominis 1686.
Ita se totum unde exit retribuit,
et vel in morte docuit,
suum cuique reddere